Athletes Beyond Bartow: Howard continues solid start with Pirates; Walker part of UGA national title

Sam Howard is taking full advantage of his first chance to start the season at the major league level.

An in-season call-up the past three years, the Cartersville High alum has been pitching brilliantly out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. Last week, Howard made four scoreless appearances and registered three holds for the National League ball club.

For the season, the southpaw boasts a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a 12.15 K/9 rate. Howard holds a 1-1 record over nine appearances, spanning 6 2/3 innings. He is limiting opponents to a .136 batting average.

Elsewhere, another Canes graduate won a national championship. Sophomore Josey Walker and the University of Georgia equestrian team earned the National Collegiate Equestrian Association title Saturday in Waco, Texas.


Elliott Anderson (Kansas City Royals organization; Cartersville HS) — Anderson continues to work out with the other minor league players in the Royals organization. While most minor league position players have already been assigned, pitchers will be assigned to the minor league affiliates at the end of this month. Max Rieper, who covers the Kansas City organization for SBNation has Anderson projected for the Low Class-A Columbia (South Carolina) Fireflies.

Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates; Cartersville HS) — Howard made four appearances last week, earning his first three holds of the season. Tuesday at home against San Diego, he allowed a hit and a walk, retiring the final two outs of the sixth inning in an 8-4 win. Wednesday, the 28-year-old worked a scoreless eighth inning in a 5-1 victory over the Padres. Friday at Milwaukee, Howard recorded the third out of the seventh inning, retiring the only batter he faced in a 6-1 win. Then on Sunday, he got the first two outs of the sixth inning against the Brewers in a 6-5 Pirates win. For the season, the southpaw has a 1-1 record and a 2.70 ERA in nine relief appearances across 6 2/3 innings. He has recorded nine strikeouts and opponents have a minuscule .136 batting average against him.


Levi Ayers (Young Harris Jr., Cartersville HS) — Ayers pitched the eighth inning of a 4-2 Mountain Lions loss Saturday at USC-Aiken. Ayers retired all three batters he face, striking out one. Sunday, Ayers was tagged with the pitching loss as YHC fell 12-11 in 12 innings at USC-Aiken. He retired the final out of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, but the right-hander was on the mound when the Pacers scored twice to escape with a one-run win. Ayers allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks (two were intentional). He fanned two of 16 batters faced. Young Harris (18-13, 16-11 Peach Belt Conference) hosts Lee Wednesday and travels to 24th-ranked Columbus State for a three game PBC series Saturday and Sunday.

Mason Barnett (Auburn So., Cartersville HS) — Barnett gave up a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings Saturday in a 10-9 loss at Alabama. Barnett was saddled with the pitching loss, allowing the earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks (one intentional). He struck out one of 11 batters faced. Auburn (14-18, 2-13 SEC) was set to host Samford Tuesday night and Jacksonville State Wednesday before entertaining Florida in a three game conference series Friday through Sunday.

Clifton Dempsey (Toccoa Falls Sr., Cartersville HS) — In a home loss to Point University and a three-game series at Southern Wesleyan, Dempsey was 3-for-16 at the plate with a double, a sacrifice fly, three walks, a stolen base and two runs scored. Toccoa Falls (12-18) was slated to play Tuesday at Truett McConnell and Friday and Saturday at Johnson University in Knoxville in a three-game series.

Jake Gooch (Central Alabama CC So., Cartersville HS) — Gooch finished 4-for-13 with a walk, four runs scored and four RBIs in a four-game series last week with Snead State CC. The Trojans (21-26, 9-15) were scheduled to host Chattahoochee Valley Tuesday and a four-game conference series with Lawson State CC Thursday and Saturday.

Lane Griffith (West Georgia Sr., Adairsville HS) — In a three-game series Sunday and Monday at Valdosta State, Griffith was 3-for-9 with four walks and two RBIs, but the Wolves lost all three Gulf South Conference games. West Georgia (14-19, 13-17 GSC) hosts 24th-ranked Columbus State Wednesday night and has a home conference series with ninth-ranked West Florida Friday and Saturday.

Brycen Jones (Central Alabama CC Fr., Cartersville HS) — Jones made two appearances last week in losses to Snead State. Jones gave up four earned runs on three walks and two hits in 1 2/3 innings. He recorded one strikeout. For the season, the right-hander has a 2-1 record, 3.27 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.

Logan Nelson (Truett McConnell Fr., Cass HS) — Nelson made a start but failed to reach in two at-bats last Tuesday in the Bears’ 12-3 win at Bob Jones. TMU went 3-1 for the week, winning two of three games at Bluefield College (Virginia). The Bears (23-16, 12-11 Appalachian Athletic Conference) were set to entertain Toccoa Falls College Tuesday and host Columbia International Friday and Saturday in a three-game conference series.

Harrison Osborn (Point Jr., Cartersville HS) — Osborn entered in the sixth inning and gave up back-to-back home runs and a hit batsmen, but he was credited with the pitching win in a 14-12 victory over Toccoa Falls College. The Skyhawks also won two of three games at 17th-ranked Reinhardt over the weekend. Point (20-17, 13-10 AAC) host a three-game conference series with No. 1 Tennessee Wesleyan Friday and Saturday.

Preston Welchel (Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette Fr., Cartersville HS) — Welchel went 5-for-6 with two doubles, a two-run home run, two runs scored and a stolen base Monday in a doubleheader split with Coastal Alabama-Brewton. In Sunday’s doubleheader, Welchel was 1-for-4 with a pair of walks. Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette (17-30, 9-15) has a four-game series with Wallace State-Selma Thursday and Saturday.

Jordan Wilkie (Augusta Fr., Cartersville HS) — Saturday, Wilkie was entered defensively at second base in the third game of the Jaguars’ series with Claflin. Augusta (8-22, 4-21 Peach Belt Conference) swept the three-game series and extended a four-game winning streak. The Jags have a three-game conference series at Georgia College Friday and Saturday.

Zach Wilson (Penn State-Greater Allegheny Fr., Woodland HS) — Wilson saw action in four of six games with his team last week against Penn State-Beaver and Penn State-Du Bois. Wilson was 3-for-8 with a walk and one run scored. Penn State-Allegheny (12-7) was slated to play Tuesday at Penn State-New Kensington Tuesday and contest a three game series with Penn State-Mont Alto Friday and Saturday.


A.J. Mosby (Shreveport Mavericks; Cartersville HS) — Mosby helped the Mavs to a 2-0 weekend, with home wins over the Dallas Skyline and Omaha’s Finest. While stats were unavailable for Shreveport’s 102-91 triumph Saturday over Dallas, Mosby recorded 38 points on 15-of-24 shooting, including a 4-for-5 performance from deep, in a 134-123 victory Sunday against Omaha.


Josey Walker (Georgia So., Cartersville HS) — Walker and the Bulldogs won the National Collegiate Equestrian Association national championship with a 9-7 victory over SMU Saturday in Waco, Texas. Georgia has now won seven NCEA national titles — most of any program in the country.


Terry Berlin (Reinhardt Jr., Cartersville HS) — Berdin rushed twice for a net of 1 yard in a 40-29 win against Marian (Indiana) in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs Saturday at home.

Bryce Burgess (Reinhardt Jr., Adairsville HS) — Burgess recorded one tackle for the Eagles, who will hit the road in the quarterfinals for a game Saturday at Keiser.

John Scifers (Incarnate Word Grad. Transfer, Woodland HS) — Scifers recorded touchbacks on two of his three kickoffs, averaging 54.7 yards per attempt, during a 42-14 loss to Sam Houston State Saturday at home.

Bryce Wilkins (Reinhardt Jr., Cartersville HS) — Last week, Wilkins earned a spot on the Mid-South Conference second team and on the league’s academic all-conference squad. In Saturday’s contest, the starting offensive guard helped the Eagles record 307 total offensive yards.


Lindsey Bonner (York Sr., Cartersville HS) — Playing as an individual, Bonner shot an 83 to finish tied for ninth in the MAC Tournament preview Saturday at Golden Oaks Country Club in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. York’s official team won the event by 11 strokes, producing the program’s sixth victory in as many tournaments this season.


Bella Carnes (Georgia College Fr., Woodland HS) — Carnes entered as a pinch runner in the fourth inning and scored in Friday’s 8-2 home loss to ninth-ranked Young Harris. Carnes also had one at bat Sunday in a 12-0 home loss to third-ranked North Georgia. The Bobcats, who were 0-4 for the week are now 9-23 for the season and 3-13 in the Peach Belt Conference. They host USC-Aiken Sunday in a conference doubleheader.

Skylar Chappell (Cottey College So., Woodland HS) — Chappell drew a start at catcher in the first game of a home doubleheader Saturday, when the Comets beat Sterling College (Kansas) 8-0. Chappell finished 1-for-3 and hit a three-run home run to right field in the sixth inning to end the game by run rule. She also threw out one baserunner attempting to steal. For the season, Chappell has a .385 batting average with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 26 official at bats. Cottey (24-6) plays a doubleheader at Oklahoma City College Friday and will host Central Christian (Kansas) in a pair of games Saturday.

Presly Edwards (Wesleyan Fr., Cartersville HS) — Edwards made a pinch-hitting appearance in one game and started as the designated player in the other in a doubleheader last Tuesday at Agnes Scott. She was 1-for-5 with one RBI. In home wins Sunday against the Scots, Edwards was 1-for 5 with a sacrifice and one RBI. The Wolves (9-15, 3-5) play a doubleheader at LaGrange Wednesday before hosting Piedmont Friday and Covenant Saturday.

Sarah Fox (Agnes Scott Jr., Cass HS) — In her first appearances of the season, Fox made a pair of home starts at shortstop as the Scots hosted Wesleyan College. She was 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI Thursday. She then finished 1-for-3 with a walk in losses Sunday at Wesleyan. Agnes Scott (3-9, 3-7 USA South Athletic Conference) hosts Brevard College Wednesday and travels to Piedmont Saturday.

Brianna Hill (Covenant Fr., Woodland HS) — Hill made a start at first base and was 0-for-1 in one of two home games Saturday with Piedmont. Covenant (16-16, 5-5 USA South Athletic Conference) plays Saturday at Wesleyan College.

Hannah Todd (Kansas Sr., Cartersville HS) — Todd was entered in the seventh inning with her team up 4-3 and pitched through the eighth in an 8-4 home loss Saturday to Texas Tech. Todd allowed five earned runs on nine hits. She struck out three. Kansas (21-17, 2-7 Big 12) has a three-game conference series Friday through Sunday at Texas.


Havyn Isaac (Georgia Military So., Adairsville HS) — Isaac racked up eight saves in a 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday at Gordon State College.


Blake Bottegal (Shorter Jr., Woodland HS) — Bottegal and his former high school teammate, Connor Gunnell, fell 6-0 in a Line 3 doubles match Sunday at Mississippi College.

Connor Gunnell (Shorter Fr., Woodland HS) — Gunnell and Bottegal’s defeat was part of a 6-1 loss for the Hawks.

Houston Medlock (Piedmont Jr., Adairsville HS) — Medlock finished 3-1 over the past few days, winning both of his doubles matches alongside teammate Chase Morris. In a 7-2 win Sunday at LaGrange, Medlock and Morris gutted out an 8-7 (7-1) win. In singles action, Medlock dropped a 6-3, 6-4 match. The next day, Medlock and Morris cruised to an 8-0 win at Johnson (Tennessee). Medlock didn’t drop a game in a dominant victory on Line 1 singles.

Ashley Popham (Mercer Fr., Cartersville HS) — Popham went 1-1 in her two Line 6 singles matches last week. The former Canes standout earned a 6-1, 6-2 win Wednesday at UNC-Greensboro. She dropped a 6-3, 6-2 decision versus Samford Friday at home. Mercer lost both matchups by 4-3 final scores.

Bryce VanOrder (Piedmont Fr., Woodland HS) — VanOrder won both of his Line 2 singles matches against LaGrange and Johnson. He pulled out a three-setter in the former — rallying for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win — and eased to a 6-0, 6-0 triumph in the latter. Overall, Piedmont won both matches by final scores of 7-2 and 9-0, respectively.


Stephen Smith (Kennesaw State So., Cass HS) — Smith finished runner-up in the pole vault with a height of 4.55 meters during the Georgia Tech Invitational Friday in Atlanta.


Nedu Evans (Augusta So., Cartersville HS) — Evans led the Jaguars with 13.5 points (12 kills and 3 block assists) in a sweep of Georgia College Friday in Milledgeville. She added four digs in the win. Earlier in the week, Evans contributed one kill, one dig and two block assists in a five-set victory against Francis Marion last Tuesday at home.

Nicholas Sullivan of The Daily Tribune News contributed to this report.

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